February 2014

VAT Tribunal result

Members may be aware that the EBU had appealed against a decision of HMRC not to grant us relief from VAT on competition entry fees. We were represented by our Honorary Counsel David Ewart, to whom we owe many thanks for his efforts. We learnt last week that our efforts had been unsuccessful and there has been some media interest on radio, TV and in the press.

We are currently considering whether to go to the next stage with our efforts and taking legal advice on this. We are aware that in some other EU countries there is VAT relief and also some countries regard Bridge as a sport which both facilitates VAT relief and, in some cases, additional funding. Sadly that is not currently the case in England.

Please read on for links to the media coverage we received.

3-way tie in first online monthly competition.

The first of the new monthly competitions for the EBU online games has ended in a three-way tie.

sephcat, evemh and diana_eva all finished on 1.56, with diana_eva winning the final game to join the others at the top. They will share the first and second place prizes with each receiving BB$10.

The next competition will start tomorrow - the first day of March. The player who accumulates the most BBO Master Points in our games in each calendar month will receive BB$20. Second place will receive BB$10, with prizes being split in the event of a tie. The competition is open to everyone, including non-EBU members and those overseas, and hopefully gives an added incentive to those who play infrequently, or are thinking of playing for the first time.

As well as competing for the monthly prize you can also try to move up the overall point winners list (there is no prize for this, but the kudos is certainly significant) and you can earn EBU Master Points.

Games are played on Bridge Base Online on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 4pm, Saturday at 4pm (with IMPs scoring), and Sunday at 4pm, 6pm and 9pm

Night of the Stars event raises thousands for charity

The annual Night of the Stars event took place last night (27th February) at the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability in Putney.

The opportunity to partner over 50 of the best and most famous bridge players in both English and World Bridge had previously been auctioned, and last night saw the game take place with 112 pairs taking part.

The Stars included Zia Mahmood, Andrew Robson, Nafiz Zorlu from Turkey, World Champion Sjoert Brink from the Netherlands and three of England's Gold Medal Women’s team, Sally Brock, Heather Dhondy and Nevena Senior.

The winners were Brian Senior & Rangy Rangarajan with 67.33%, followed by Nafiz Zorlu & Anita Sinclair (66.69%) and Andrew McIntosh & Billie Stephens (66.44%). The top two pairs are pictured.

The event supports four charities - Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability , Teenage Cancer Trust, West London Action for Children and Macmillan Cancer Support. Over £36,000 has been raised for these worthy causes.

The event was organised by Terry Hewett - for more information please email her. For a full list of those who took part, scores and many great photographs from the history of the event, please visit the website.

Education Development Manager announced

The EBU is pleased to announce that their new Education Development Manager will be Simon Barb.

He will be joining us from April and will be taking over from long time Education Manager John Pain, who is taking “partial retirement”, but will remain working for us on other matters.

Simon will be working mainly for our new associated Charity, English Bridge Education and Development, and will be working with the Trustees to deliver existing programmes and to deliver new ones in the months and years to come.

Six pairs victorious at Ranked Masters Pairs

The Ranked Masters Pairs was held in Northampton on 22nd & 23rd February, with six events taking place. Entry into each event was dependent on a player's EBU Master Point ranking.

The Premier Grand Masters Pairs was won by Richard Jephcott and John Sansom (pictured). They finished on 64 imps with John Holland & Ben Green second on 55.

The Grand Masters Pairs, for the Harrison Gray Salver, was won by Geoffrey Wolfarth and Nevena Senior, who pipped Rick Irwin & Francis Eddleston by only 2 imps.

The Premier Life Masters Pairs, for the Premier Life Masters Trophy, was won by Andrew Urbanski & Michael Letts, 12 imps ahead of Edward Leatham & Nick Forrest.

The Life Masters Pairs, for the Maurice Blank Trophy, was won by Martin Taylor & Mike Bell. They won by the wide margin of 34 imps, with Tim Chanter & Helen Wildsmith in second.

The National Masters Pairs, for the Bridge Magazine Cup, was won convincingly by Richard Johnson & Nick Boss. They finished over 100 imps clear of the second placed pair, Jonathan Osgood & Simon Mostyn.

The Regional Masters Pairs, for the St Dunstan’s Plate, was narrowly won by Ros Bateman & John Bateman, who finished 3 imps ahead of Suzy Lawson & Shaun Day.

Scherson & Wooler win Masters Pairs

Ana-Maria Scherson and Georgina Wooler have won the Master Pairs, held on 23rd February, by the narrow margin of 0.08 per cent. The competition was for those ranked below the rank of Regional Master and was held at six venues, with the event scored across the whole field. Playing at the Bradford heat Ana-Maria and Georgina scored 61.64% across the whole field, with Andy White and Meena Samani, who played at the Richmond heat, scoring 61.56%. Chris Wall and Jenifer Kerr, playing at Tunbridge Wells, were third with 59.26%.

The overall results, and the session scores, can be seen by looking at the calendar on the results page below. As with all competitions the results are only provisional and will be confirmed in the next few days.

England win Junior Camrose & Peggy Bayer

England have won the Junior Camrose and Peggy Bayer, played in Belfast 22nd & 23rd February, successfully defending both titles.

In the Junior Camrose the England team of Shivam Shah & Tom Paske, Toby Nonnenmacher & Michael Alishaw, and Simon Spencer & Kyle Lam were second at the end of both the first and second rounds of matches, but had a great final round, scoring 50 out of 60 to win by 14 VPs. The NPC was Tom Townsend, himself a five-time winner of the event. The victorious team is pictured.

In the Peggy Bayer, the under-20s competition, the England team led throughout and completed an emphatic win by 37 VPs. The team was Freddie Illingworth & Ben Norton, Nick Dean & Sam Behrens, and Stephen Kennedy & Rhys Munden. NPC was Michael Byrne, who achieved his sixth win as coach of the Peggy Bayer team making him the most successful NPC in the event's history. A picture of the trophy presentation is here, and a team photograph is here (unfortunately Ben and Freddie had to leave before the photographs were taken).

Congratulations to all involved - the future looks bright for English bridge.

John Holland tops 2013 Master Point list

Congratulations to John Holland who has won the Sunday Telegraph Salver for the most Master Points accumulated in 2013. John, who also won this award in 2012 and 2009, gained a total of 30,941 points. Ed Scerri, highest points earner in 2010 and 2011, was second with 25,307 points, and Derek Oram was third with 23,306.

For more masterpoints lists and prize winners, please read on.